Femme Fatales – A Dark Fetish Freakshow!

Red Hot Pinups’ Femme Fatales: A Dark Fetish Freakshow brought the thrills of the kink world to a bustling room of attendees at the Duke of Brunswick on Friday night.

I was really taken aback by the performances in this show. The first act, titled Crush does a fantastic job representing that innocence of first crushes. Here, the main character dances with red feathers dressed in black. It is the only performance where there is no removal of clothing, which enhances the innocence. Perhaps the best part is at the end of it, the storyteller then begins to speak of their first forays into the thoughts of dark fetish. It comes so suddenly and is quickly retreated, following that adolescent feeling of trying to “fit in”.

The other performances throughout Femme Fatales only continued to build upon exploring the world of kink further. Members of the audience were invited to take part into the character’s exploration, which is represented through extravagant dances by numerous performers. The costumes were mesmerising and were influenced by pop culture icons like Bettie Page and the Bride of Frankenstein. The choice in music too made the performances even more raunchy and thrilling. A couple of these performances used jazz music, which combined with their 1940s – 1950s clothes, made for a thrilling show.

Perhaps the biggest take-away from this show is the positive messages it conveys. The performers were all different ages and physiques, showing beauty is more than what society claims it to be. The show promotes the idea of positive body image, and for women to embrace themselves for who they truly are.

Other themes explored include consent and respect. This is revealed following the main character’s story. She speaks of how the men whom she’s dated in the past have seen her as a “freak” because of her dark fetishes. There was cheering from the crowd when she says how she leaves them and embraces her inner freak instead. This, as I could only imagine, would have been empowering for many members in the audience.

One of the disadvantages with this particular venue was the absence of a stage, which made it hard to view what was going on at times. This show ran slightly overtime, which saw some people leave before it finished. Fortunately, this did little to dampen the whole experience overall. The performers passion and desire to entertain was clear through their level of professionalism even when things weren’t going to plan.

Femme Fatales: A Dark Fetish Freakshow was a thrilling performance from start to finish. I was captivated by the beauty of the performers and their acts, along with how they delivered the themes of consent and respect. It is an empowering show which allows you to embrace your true self.

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Cameron Lowe
Femme Fatales – A Dark Fetish Freakshow! is showing until March 14

For more information and to purchase tickets click here

The Devil Made Me Do It

An independent production by Write Me Originals, The Devil Made Me Do It is a theatre piece interrogating the pressures of being an actor/dancer in Hollywood or even just a woman in the 1950s.

Beginning as an intermission dancer, Nancy was offered the chance of a lifetime making films with director Robert Melva. Without much thought for the consequences, she signed on sacrificing not only her name but her independence, her body, and her life to the showbiz industry. Renamed as Nora Hudson, she’s cultivated into a glamorous starlet by the production company and encouraged to take a number of pills to enhance her suitability as at actor (eg pills for weight loss and energy). Eventually she loses herself along the way, realising that nobody in the industry valued her for herself, instead they valued her for being a sex symbol.

Nancy needs to break her contract with the devil – despite the fact he laughed in her face when she suggested it, she is determined to regain her soul. Given a challenge and a countdown, Nancy must revisit memories of her past and uncover what kind of person she truly is. It might be painful, but it’s necessary if she’s ever going to have a shot at regaining her soul.

While the story appears to be Nancy’s, it is more so about the haunting figure in the background. Both Nancy’s past and present selves are overshadowed by the devil. Nancy’s devil is the devil while Nora’s is her infamous manager, Melva, who is not only controlling and demanding, he is the person Nora must please daily to maintain her path to stardom.

With some dark turns this production explores a number of issues including drug-dependence, body-image issues, and gas-lighting. The Devil Made Me Do It is an engrossing piece of performance theatre with several quite talented young actors. The piece is a warning to performers, and people in general, to be wary of what you’re signing up for and the consequences of signing a contract that might exploit you later on/ bite you on the ass.

With costuming a throw-back to the 50s and the iconic blonde-bombshell archetype, the show is a delight to watch.

 

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Kayla Gaskell

The Devil Made Me Do It is playing at the Bakehouse Theatre until February 22

For more information and to book tickets, click here

Spin Off Festival 2019

We all know Adelaide flies under the radar: we are often defined by the Malls Balls or our filtered water. Although we aren’t considered to be the artistic hub of Australia, little old Adelaide is home to one of the most vibrant art scenes in our country. The proof is in the festival pudding. The most recent example: Spin Off Festival 2019.

For those who are not familiar with this festival, Spin Off states that it brings ‘the cream of the Splendour in the Grass line up to Adelaide, curating a concentrated super dose of sideshow revelry’. It was a concentrated super dose of talent, but not for a second did this festival feel like a sideshow.

We were blessed with a divine day. In the midst of what has been a cool Adelaide winter, the sun showed its face, the air was still, and it was blue skies as far as the eye could see. The space was decked out with food trucks that bordered grassed areas, and a KFC tent was providing free food on the hour. Transmission – who run Adelaide’s regular indie music nights – set up a dance floor that was buzzing well into the evening. Our showground was filled with so many beautiful, energised, and groovy people.

The day kicked off with Kian, our young hip-hop, indie singer who melts hearts left, right and centre. The Australian rapper Kwame, known for his performance energy, was unmatchable on stage. Around lunch time, Ruby Fields brought waves of crazed fans through the gate to see her rock out with her appealing angsty vibe. Mallrat followed – wearing the most fabulous red, frilly two piece– and drew us in with her sweet nature and infectious liveliness. The flow didn’t stop! The surf and garage rock duo Hockey Dad impressed, backed with artistic on-screen visuals, Wolf Alice gave us the music for a solid, high energy dance session, and Ocean Alley, as the modern reggae fusion group they are, did not disappoint their devoted fans. Ball Park Music were next and have established themselves as irreplaceable in the Australian music scene, always pleasing with their honest, upbeat tunes. Catfish and the Bottlemen were the penultimate act and, from what I heard, were a huge influence on the large attendance at this year’s festival. Boy, are these guys loved, and their music is what I like to call ‘boogie friendly’ – it’s awfully hard not to get into it. And then there was Childish Gambino. The big one. What talent. What spectacle. His dramatic display was captivating, and I have very rarely been a part of a crowd so enthralled by a performer. Gambino will be spoken about for generations, and Adelaide was stoked to have him here.

The thing about any festival, is there is a strong sense of community. For however long a festival lasts – a single day or an entire weekend – festival goers get to know the space and all its nooks and crannies: a festival and its set up grows to feel like home in a mere few hours. People bond over a shared experience, and sweaty bodies getting down for a groove creates a unique intimacy. But in our city, I can’t help thinking that these festivals are even more close-knit. You could stand in a single spot in our showgrounds filled with thousands of humans, and bump into half of the people in your life. In the mosh, all you have to do is look both ways and you are guaranteed to lock eyes with a familiar face. It’s nice to think of this city, and the young people who go to these events, as an interlocked community.

Adelaide not only showed up for Spin Off, but we gave the national and international artists before us a bloody good time. Good on us!

 


Words by Michelle Wakim

Photograph by Stazi Markovich

 

Rouge

Rouge, presented by Gluttony and Highwire Entertainment, incorporates beautiful acrobats, incredible physique, and tantalizing burlesque to create a show just as suggestive and blush-inducing as the powder it was named after.

The line for Rouge was long. Squished into our seats, the anticipation was thick. We were not disappointed, it was absolutely spectacular.

There were a number of role reversals between traditional men and women’s gender roles threaded throughout the performance. Where there would usually be more of a focus on men and women dancing or doing acts together, there were men dancing with men, women with women, and women leading men. Huge male acrobats on the shoulders of a female, women with whips and men in underwear are just a few of the surprising things that make Rouge stand out.

With amazingly spectacular costumes, flashing lights and an incredible opera singer, Rouge engaged the senses. From the very moment you enter the tent, you’ll feel at home with the boisterous and cheeky performers. Engaging and friendly, their characters will keep you laughing throughout the show.

With the slogan ‘circus for grown-ups’, you can guess that the sexual references and nudity might be prevalent; and you would be right. Anyone who would like a good time and a good laugh, book in to see Rouge. Perfect for a good night out with friends who will be able to chuckle and gasp along with you.

Five stars from me!


Words by Sarah Ingham

Jon Bennett: How I Learned to Hug

Jon Bennett’s How I Learned to Hug is an exceptional fusion of comedy, music, multi-media and peculiar physical portrayals. Returning home to this year’s Fringe Festival, the award-winning comedian can be seen at Gluttony’s The Piglet. Such a venue offers a quaint space for Bennett to stand before audiences and discuss his experiences of love, sex, and intimacy. Bennett offers us a highly intelligent piece of work that is engaging in its writing and entertaining in its performance.

Comedy is often revealing and exposing, with How I Learned to Hug being no exception; I have never seen a performance quite so heart-warming and simultaneously confronting in its honesty. I will tell you straight up that this comedy is for the open-minded, as very few stones are left unturned in the discussion of sex and relationships. You will find yourself laughing because the artist in front of you – who looks very pretty in pink – gifts you with frank perceptions of human intimacy and sexual explorations. Half of the humour comes from the fact that Bennett’s thoughts and experiences are embarrassingly accurate, and his ideas hold a certain truth to them which is difficult to dispute and often awkward to discuss. Although you may relate to Bennett’s narratives, these stories can be told by Bennett alone, as his material and fast-paced, almost chaotic delivery suits the subject matter to a ‘T’.

At the beginning of this show, our vibrant storyteller anchors us at one point in time. However, expect to be led on an intricately structured journey, moving back and forth between this anchor and Bennett’s memories from the past. The progression keeps you on your toes as the show is ultimately Bennett telling us a story about how he told a memorable airport security guard, ‘Bey-Z’, the details of his relationship history.

To enhance the comedy, Bennett draws on common behavioural tropes that are shared by many of his audience members – ‘Forrest Gumping’ away your problems and being ‘wasted’ for many of your early intimate experiences are two notable examples. Such recurring moments, and the physicality Bennett applies to them, aren’t simply comical, but a perceptive reflection of the way we handle our relationship dilemmas.

What made this show have such an impact was Bennett’s transition between humour and sensitivity. As the majority of the show is delivered in a hyped and speedy fashion, Bennett’s contrast in tone and pace when discussing themes of deeper sentiment bring you to a halt. Bennett befriends his audience, drawing us in with his humour, before striking with a moment of emotional appeal – pathos as described so well by my friend – in order to persuade us to recognise the significance of the feelings behind each experience.

In summary, Bennett highlights the carnage that accompanies a broken heart, and how the people we love play an intrinsic role in shaping the people we become. He urges us to laugh at these moments and acknowledge their ridiculousness as a way of making them palatable. Shows such as How I Learned to Hug contribute to our wider understandings of our most important relationships, whether they be romantic, platonic or familial.

When seeing this show, I encourage you to approach it willing to embrace the obscurity that comes with Bennett’s storytelling. If you resist it or expect the conventional you will be closing yourself off to a spectacular and refreshing exploration of love.

Finally, see this piece of work with someone who will laugh with you. It will immediately make it all the more comfortable and enjoyable.


You can catch Jon Bennett: How I Learned to Hug until March 3rd. Details and tickets here.

Review by Michelle Wakim

Mutating Roots

The main performer of Mutating Roots is Japanese Australian circus artist Mayu Muto. She uses dance and acrobatics to weave her story of cultural loss, gendered assumptions, and becoming cross cultural.

Muto’s physical performances are amazing. Her dance and acrobatic skills were mesmerizing. Watching her spin around and descend I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Muto’s performance was complimented by her incorporation of a wooden cage. This cage helped convey feelings of helpless-ness and being trapped.

Dressing up as a Japanese schoolgirl was another highlight, it offered both a comedic relief while also discussing a wider issue in terms of gender stereotype, particularly with Japanese women.

Although kept to a minimum, the dialogue that was used was powerful. They spoke of fear and anger that the performer had encountered. Those few words conveyed so much feeling and emotion while only being extremely short.

While I did find the show enjoyable, I had a lot of trouble with following the overall story. I found myself lost throughout the performance and wasn’t sure I knew what was happening. Unfortunately, I only grasped the story two-thirds the way through which was disappointing.

Mutating Roots is an intriguing performance. Muto has some heart-stoppingly amazing dances and her spoken word section is well done. However, my confusion as to what was happening did dampen my experience.

 


Mutating Roots is playing at Gluttony’s Empire Theatre until March 3, to find out more follow the link.

3.5 Stars

Words by Cameron Lowe

Djuki Mala

On a bustling Friday night, I had the pleasure of witnessing the legendary Australian Djuki Mala, or Chooky Dancers. The seats were all filled to the brim, and although we were squished in like sardines, the audience soon forgot as they were transported only by a stage, music, and four energetic men. From the moment the show began, I was absolutely spellbound by their grace and rhythm.

Trying to think of phrases or words throughout the performance was completely hopeless because I was so ensorcelled by these four men. The team pays a beautiful homage to past and present Aboriginal tradition. Right from the start, they educate the audience with a multitude of reasons as to why bringing their culture around the world is so important to them. I witnessed expressive dances interspersed with short clips of video explaining the history of the Djuki Mala group and their roots.

The show was vivaciously cheeky and spiritually moving all at the same time. Blending traditional Aboriginal culture with modern dance, the energetic performance left me with a full heart and a greater knowledge of Aboriginal culture. The elation that I experienced was akin to no other, and a smile was permanently glued to my face throughout the entire performance. The absolute openness and effervescent attitude of the dancers was reflected in the audience’s joyful atmosphere.

Going 12 years strong and travelling all over the world, Djuki Mala are obviously doing something right. The independent company thrives on locals and tourists alike taking time out of their day, so why not come and see for yourself this Fringe season and help them make a big difference in their community. Take everyone you know; you won’t be disappointed.

Go and see this heart-warming show and remember your own roots. Anyone can enjoy this masterpiece of movement, no matter what their age. Come down and embrace the story of the Djuki Mala, and they’ll embrace you back.

 


Words by Sarah Ingham

4.5 stars.

Djuki Mala is playing Umbrella Revolution at the Garden of Unearthly Delights nightly (except Mondays) until March 17. Tickets available here.